A local family is still shaken up after their 15-month-old baby boy was bitten by a baby rattlesnake.
The snake struck Wednesday morning at a daycare operated by Naval Base San Diego in Chollas Heights and the child was rushed to Rady Children's hospital.
Some might call the child, who at the parents’ request NBC 7 is identifying as Wayne, “lucky". Because of his age and size, the snake bite could have killed lucky little Wayne.
Thanks to a couple recovery days the swelling around the bite and his fever have gone down, and baby Wayne is getting back to his playful self. One thing that hasn’t subsided is the fear.
"He freaked out when he saw a toy moving quickly around him. He thought it was a snake," his father Javier said.
Javier shared this bizarre experience with NBC 7 from a parent's perspective.
"A snake at a daycare?” he wondered. “I figured they would have checks or something along those lines that protect children.”
The 15-month-old reached for what he thought was a toy but it turned out to be a baby rattlesnake.
The bite happened in the fenced play area outside The Child Development Center in Chollas Heights.
"He was slumped he can't keep his eyes open. He was just lying there," Javier said. "I was awestruck for a very few seconds, I thought my son was gone.”
The toddler's hand swelled four times its normal size. He was given anti-venom that took effect overnight.
A Naval Base spokesperson told NBC 7 the snake, because it was small, may have slipped through the fence. They said it was the first time it has happened.
The long-term effects of the snake bite are unknown, but Wayne's father just wants his happy baby boy back.
"I hope he can get past the trauma, honestly,” he said. “He's a kid with a golden heart.”
Javier says the snake was only able to get one fang in his son's hand, preventing the full release of the venom. Wayne immediately ran to a caregiver who called an ambulance right away.
The boy's father says this sequence of events prevented this from ending much worse. In the wake of all this, daycare operators say they are now doing a thorough check of the play area each morning before children are allowed to enter.
According to the CDC, if you are ever bitten by a snake it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Also try to remember the shape and color of the snake, as this can help with treatment.